Benghazi Report – White Wash and White-Out

Editor’s Note – The report is out and America is supposed to be happy – we finally know! Or do we? Of course not – this report is not worth the paper it is printed on – the cover-up continues. Yet, three people just resigned over its release, guess who:

The State Department’s security chief and two others are resigning after an independent review of the U.S. Consulate attacks in Benghazi, Libya blasted “systemic failures and leadership and management deficiencies,” in the department, an official told the Associated Press on Wednesday.

The AP reports that Eric Boswell, the assistant secretary of state for diplomatic security, and his deputy Charlene Lamb, who was responsible for embassy security, have resigned. A third unnamed official from the Middle East bureau also stepped down. The resignations came “under pressure,” according to the AP, after the report’s release. (Read more here at Slate.)

From day one of the original hearings, it was easy to see who was going to take the fall. Read the report here.

But we need $1.6 Billion to fix it? Fix what exactly? The void in decision making, the void in lying about a video, the lying about no one said ‘not to rescue Americans’? Just what are we fixing? Does that mean there is pork in that money request and are we going to stay in Libya?

Really folks? We are supposed to believe this “independent” tripe? As usual, Diana West has broken it down into bite size chunks so you do not have to choke on it all at once:

Benghazi White-Out

By Diana West

The “independent” Benghazi Report has concluded the White House remained in the dark.

The Benghazi Report is out and it’s official: President Obama, SecState Hillary Clinton, CIA Director Petraeus all had nothing to do with the US government response to the attack on the US mission in Benghazi. Indeed, the names Obama, Clinton, Petraeus, Panetta, Rice do not appear anywhere in its 39 pages. DoD — Panetta? — however, is singled out for having deployed unarmed drones that, for example, “provided visual surveillance during the evacuation.”

Hooray?

The red flags didn’t go up over this so-called investigation for nothing. The White House isn’t just whitewashed in the report, it’s whited-out.

Here, for example, is how the report on Benghazi sums up the US government response.

Upon    notification   of    the    attack  from the TDY  RSO  (temporary regional  security officer in  Benghazi)  around  2145  local (9:45 pm) , Embassy Tripoli set up a command center and notified Washington.

What “Washington” said or did next we never find out.

About 2150 local (9:50 pm), the DCM (deputy chief    of   mission) was able to reach Ambassador Stevens, who briefly reported that  the SMC (mission) was under attack before the call cut off. The Embassy notified Benina Airbase in Benghazi of a potential need for logistic support and aircraft  for extraction and received full cooperation. The DCM (deputy chief of mission) contacted the Libyan Presidentand Prime Minister’s offices to urge  them  to  mobilize a rescue effort, and kept Washington apprised of post’s efforts.

The Embassy also reached out to Libyan Air  Force and  Armed  Forces contacts, February 17 leadership, and UN and  third country embassies, among others.

Isn’t it just too bad that “Washington” had no armed forces “contacts” of its own and thus had to rely on the Embassy “reaching out” to Libyan shadow-government forces and jihadists for assistance? Meanwhile, it would be helpful to know what, if anything, the Embassy asked of the UN and “third country embassies” in “reaching out” — so, naturally, the report doesn’t include that information, either. One tiny bit of news to chew on is that about a half an hour after the 19:40 departure of the Turkish diplomat (Ali Akin)  — which jibes with the Turkish timeline, if not the initial State Department timeline — a British security team stopped by the US mission.

Between 2010  and  2030  local, a  UK  security team supporting  a  day  visit  by  British diplomats dropped off vehicles and equipment at the SMC (per arrangements made after  the UK diplomatic office in Benghazi suspended operations in June  2012).When  the UK  security  team departed via the C1 gate at about  2030  local, there were no signs  of  anything  unusual, including  no  roadblocks  outside  of  the  c ompound, and traffic   flowed  normally. …

Another item previously unnoted is that on the afternoon of September 10, Ambassador Stevens went to the Annex — never i.d.’d in the report as a CIA installation — for a briefing.

Back to the US response to the attack under way. The report correctly defines this response as “Embassy Tripoli Response” since “Washington” had nothing to do with anything.

Within hours, Embassy Tripoli chartered a private airplane and deployed a seven-person security team, which  included  two U.S. military personnel, to Benghazi.

No mention of take-off time.

At  the direction of  the U.S. military’s Africa Command (AFRICOM), DoD moved a remotely piloted, unarmed surveillance aircraft which arrived over the SMC shortly before the DS (diplomatic security) team departed (for the Annex). A second remotely piloted, unarmed surveillance  aircraft  relieved the first, and monitored the eventual evacuation of personnel from the Annex to Benghazi airport later on the morning of September 12.

End of US government response to the attack itself. That’s it. Nonetheless, it isLibya that the report finds fault with. In its findings section, the report says:

The Libyan response fell short in the face of a series of attacks that began with the sudden penetration of the Special Mission compound by dozens of armed attackers.The Board found the responses by both the BML (Blue Mountain contractors) guards and February 17 to be inadequate. The Board’s inquiry found little evidence that the armed February 17 guards offered any meaningful defense of the SMC (mission), or succeeded in summoning a February 17 militia presence to assist expeditiously.

There is no discussion of why this could be — the jihadist culture in which “February 17” and, indeed, all of Benghazi and eastern Libya more generally  is steeped — no comprehension such a culture could be at odds with U.S. interests.

The Board  found the Libyan government’s response to be profoundly lackingon the night of the attacks …

But not the US government’s response.

The board also takes a whack at intelligence, an easy shot with the publicly disgraced Petraeus already past expendable.

The Board found  that intelligence provided no immediate, specific warning of the September 11 attack.

That Zawaheri video on 9/9 and 9/10 calling on Libyans to avenge the US killing of a Libyan Al Qaeda leader was not on intelligence’s radar. Why not? No answer. Come to think of it, no question, either.

Then this tortured apology for jihad-denial in intelligence and everywhere in the US government:

Known gaps existed in the intelligence community’s understanding of extremist militias in Libya and the potential threat they posed to U.S. interests, although some threats were known to exist.

Herein lies a rich vein for investigation, of course, which makes it radioactive for any “independent” investigation. But keep in it mind on reading through the report’s section called  “Attack on the Annex.”

Just  before midnight,  shortly after  the  DS and Annex security teams arrived from the SMC (US mission),  the  Annex  began to be targeted by gunfire and RPGs, which continued intermittently for an hour. Annex security personnel engaged from their defensive positions, which were reinforced by DS agents. Other personnel remained in contact with Embassy Tripoli from the Annex.

The seven-person response team from  Embassy Tripoli  arrived  in  Benghazi to lend support.

She’s guilty, he is cleared – bunk!

What time was that? The report doesn’t say. We know from press reports that they were met at the airport by members of the Libya Shield militia, which is led by jihadist Wissam bin Hamid (not mentioned, of course). He is a poster boy for “known gaps” in the US government’s understanding of threats to U.S. interests.

The response team then spent precious time (hours) wrangling with Libya Shield over their conduct into Benghazi. From the CIA timeline, we know that the ragtag team did not go to the hospital to recover Amb. Stevens’ body specifically because “it was surrounded by the Al Qaeda linked Ansar-al Sharia militia that mounted the attack.” That decision is pegged to 1:15 am.

Back to the report:

It (that seven-“person” response team) arrived at the Annex about 0500 local.

Almost 4 hours later. Not a word on what held them up for all that time.

Less than fifteen minutes later,  the  Annex  came under  mortar and  RPG  attack, with five mortar rounds impacting close together in under 90 seconds.

Could our Libya Shield “allies” have had anything to do with the timing or accuracy of the attack? Not considered (mentioned) in the report.

Three rounds hit the roof of an Annex building, killing security officers Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty.

When?

The attack  also severely injured one  ARSO   and   one  Annex  security  team   member.  Annex, Tripoli, and ARSO security team members at other locations  moved  rapidly to provide combat   first aid to the injured.

At approximately 0630 local, all U.S. government personnel evacuated with support from a quasi-governmental Libyan militia.

All of a sudden, it’s 6:30 am. Was fighting continuous?

They arrived at the airportwithout incident. The DoD unarmed surveillance aircraft provided visual oversight during the evacuation.

All hail the American drone.

Embassy Tripoli lost communication with the convoy atone point during transit, but quickly regained it. Evacuees, including all wounded personnel, departed Benghazi on thechartered jet at approximately 0730 local.

How many? And why can’t Rep. Chaffetz (R-UT) talk to them?

Embassy Tripoli staff, including the Embassy nurse, met the first evacuation flight at Tripoli International Airport.Wounded personnel were transferred to a local hospital, in exemplary coordination   that   helped save the lives of    two   severely injured Americans.

Embassy Tripoli worked with the Libyan government to have a Libyan Air Force C-130 take the remaining U.S. government personnel from Benghazi toTripoli. Two American citizen State Department contractors traveled to the airport and linked up with the remaining U.S. government personnel.

While awaiting transport, the TDY RSO and Annex personnel continued to reach out to Libyan  contacts to coordinate the transport of the presumed remains of AmbassadorStevens to the airport. The body was brought to the airport in what appeared to be a local ambulance  at  0825    local, and the TDY RSO verified Ambassador Stevens’identity.

So, Americans didn’t retrieve Stevens’ body, even on the morning after.

At 1130 local, September 12, 2012, the Libyan government-provided C-130 evacuation flight landed in Tripoli with the last U.S. government personnel from Benghazi and the remains of the four Americans killed, who were transported to a local hospital.   In coordination with the State Department and Embassy Tripoli, the Department of Defense sent two U.S. Air Force planes (a C-17 and a C-130) from  Germany to Tripoli to provide medical evacuation support for the wounded.

At 1915   local (7:15 pm)  on September 12, Embassy Tripoli evacuees, Benghazi personnel, and those wounded in the   attacks departed Tripoli on the C-17 aircraft, with military doctors and nurses aboard providing en route medical care to the injured.

Still no word on numbers of wounded.

The  aircraft arrived at Ramstein Air Force Base at approximately 2230 (Tripoli time) (10:30 pm) on September 12, just over 24 hours after the attacks in Benghazi had commenced.

Is there just a tremor of triumphalism in that last “just over 24 hours” comment? If so, it is misplaced, to say the least, in a report so narrowly focused as to avert any notice of the real Benghazi scandal that took place that night in Washington.

Meanwhile, something else is missing from the report. The Youtube video. “Innocence of Muslims.” The Benghazi “protest” over the video that the President harped on as a “natural” reaction for two weeks up to and including his anti-Islamic blasphemy UN address on September 25.

“The Board concluded that there was no protest prior to the attacks.”

The unasked $64,000 question remains: Why did the Obama administration — Obama, Hillary, Petraeus, Rice — lie to the American people and the world (and, in Petraeus’ case, to Congress) that it was free speech about Islam that led to “protests” that led to the attack?

The debate begins again – gun control, false flag?

Editor’s Note – Here it comes – the knee jerk reaction – change the gun laws they say! Well, Connecticut is a strong gun law state, so what’s the next question? No guns for anyone? Again, its the inanimate object people focus upon, not the criminal.

Mental health issues be damned, societal decline be damned, political correctness be damned – just ban guns… and cars, and rocks, and bricks, and glass, and baseball bats, and knives, and tire irons, and martial arts, and fast food, and 16 ounce soft drinks in New York City…

While you are at it, ban large SUVs that were driven by drunk drivers without licenses. Ban the inanimate weapon (Ford Explorer in this case) the drunk used to kill someone. Its exactly the same – we are on a slippery slope, but since when did sanity rule the opinions of those who prefer ignorance, those who vote to re-elect categorical failures – its all emotion.

Wait for it, wait for it…after that speech last night, here comes the Obama “Gun-scare” Law. Let’s call this one Obama-gun-s-care… Federal laws that make no sense other than to control you!

The problem now is education – get the facts before you speak. The stats do not lie, but beware of those who cherry pick them, and the second amendment is not about hunting and target shooting, its about tyranny. More too come…

Connecticut gun laws among the nation’s strictest

By Aaron Blake – Washington Times

Democrats in Congress are moving quickly to introduce new gun legislation in the aftermath of the tragedy in Newtown, Conn.

But gun rights advocates — once they start speaking out more publicly — will note that the state in which the tragedy took place has among the most stringent gun control laws on the books.

Below, we look at a few different maps comparing Connecticut to the other 49 states by the strictness of their gun laws.

Here’s a map from February from the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, which is in favor of gun control. As you can see, Connecticut is ranked as having one of the strongest gun control regimes in the country, ranking in the second tier behind only California.

And here’s a similar map from Brown University from October 2011 showing very much the same thing, with Connecticut ranking only behind New York and New Jersey.

When it comes to concealed weapons, Connecticut is also one of the strictest, according to this map from the Christian Science Monitor.

As the gun debate heats up in the coming days, expect those who oppose additional gun control measures to point to these maps.

Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy (D) preemptively fought back against that argument Sunday, saying gun-makers can get around half-measures and that federal action is needed.

“Connecticut has a pretty aggressive law — probably of the 50 states, I think we’re ranked fourth most aggressive in trying to limit access to these kinds of weapons,” Malloy said. “But what happens in the absence of a Brady bill, in the absence of federal legislation, people use descriptive terms to try to get around the limitations that are built into our statutes here in Connecticut, or might otherwise not happen if we had federal legislation on this issue.”

Connecticut is one of just a few states with at least a partial ban on assault weapons.

Contempt for the Rule-of-Law – Holder usurps more powers

Editor’s Note – As was noted frequently in Obama’s first term, Attorney General Eric Holder has ruled by fiat, not law. He selectively enforces the law, assumes powers not assigned to him, sues the sovereign states, and basically does whatever he wants as federal executive powers continue to increase in scope and quantity over the citizenry.

In one of his boldest moves, without legal authority, he decided to just skip right over a law protecting the privacy and liberty of the people. Imagine how much more he will do in the second term – nice job America, re-electing the very people who already showed us they have no use for oaths or maintaining the rule-of-law.

Attorney General Secretly Granted Gov. Ability to Develop and Store Dossiers on Innocent Americans

BY KIM ZETTER – From Wired

In a secret government agreement granted without approval or debate from lawmakers, the U.S. attorney general recently gave the National Counterterrorism Center sweeping new powers to store dossiers on U.S. citizens, even if they are not suspected of a crime, according to a news report.

Eric Holder – Contempt for the Rule-of-Law. This photo exemplifies his very nature. Attorney General Eric Holder points to an unidentified man as he responds to a question he asked after an event about efforts to combat intellectual property theft and demand for counterfeit products, Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2011, in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House Complex in Washington. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

Earlier this year, Attorney General Eric Holder granted the center the ability to copy entire government databases holding information on flight records, casino-employee lists, the names of Americans hosting foreign-exchange students and other data, and to store it for up to five years, even without suspicion that someone in the database has committed a crime, according to the Wall Street Journal, which broke the story.

Whereas previously the law prohibited the center from storing data compilations on U.S. citizens unless they were suspected of terrorist activity or were relevant to an ongoing terrorism investigation, the new powers give the center the ability to not only collect and store vast databases of information but also to trawl through and analyze it for suspicious patterns of behavior in order to uncover activity that could launch an investigation.

The changes granted by Holder would also allow databases containing information about U.S. citizens to be shared with foreign governments for their own analysis.

A former senior White House official told the Journal that the new changes were “breathtaking in scope.”

But counterterrorism officials tried to downplay the move by telling the Journal that the changes come with strict guidelines about how the data can be used.

“The guidelines provide rigorous oversight to protect the information that we have, for authorized and narrow purposes,” Alexander Joel, Civil Liberties Protection Officer for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, told the paper.

The NCTC currently maintains the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment database, or TIDE, which holds data on more than 500,000 identities suspected of terror activity or terrorism links, including friends and families of suspects, and is the basis for the FBI’s terrorist watchlist.

Under the new rules issued in March, the NCTC can now obtain almost any other government database that it claims is “reasonably believed” to contain “terrorism information.” This could conceivably include collections of financial forms submitted by people seeking federally backed mortgages or even the health records of anyone who sought mental or physical treatment at government-run hospitals, such as Veterans Administration facilities, the paper notes.

The Obama administration’s new rules come after previous surveillance proposals were struck down during the Bush administration, following widespread condemnation.

In 2002, the Pentagon’s Total Information Awareness program proposed to scrutinize both government and private databases, but public outrage killed the program in essence, though not in spirit. Although Congress de-funded the program in 2003, the NSA continued to collect and sift through immense amounts of data about who Americans spoke with, where they traveled and how they spent their money.

The Federal Privacy Act prohibits government agencies from sharing data for any purpose other than the reason for which the data was initially collected, in order to prevent the creation of dossiers, but agencies can do an end-run around this restriction by posting a notice in the Federal Register, providing justification for the data request. Such notices are rarely seen or contested, however.

The changes to the rules for the NCTC were sought in large part after authorities failed to catch Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab before he boarded a plane on Christmas Day in 2009 with explosives sewn into his underwear. Abdulmutallab wasn’t on the FBI watchlist, but the NCTC had received tips about him, and yet failed to search other government databases to connect dots that might have helped prevent him from boarding the plane.

As the NCTC tried to remedy that situation for later suspects, legal obstacles emerged, the Journal reports, since the center was only allowed to query federal databases for a specific name or a specific passenger list. “They couldn’t look through the databases trolling for general ‘patterns,’” the paper notes.

But the request to expand the center’s powers led to a heated debate at the White House and the Department of Homeland Security, with Mary Ellen Callahan, then-chief privacy officer for the Department of Homeland Security, leading the charge to defend civil liberties. Callahan argued that the new rules represented a “sea change” and that every interaction a citizen would have with the government in the future would be ruled by the underlying question, is that person a terrorist?

Callahan lost her battle, however, and subsequently left her job, though it’s not known if her struggle over the NCTC debate played a role in her decision to leave.

Union thugs assault Fox Commentator

Editor’s Note – All we ask is for America to determine the level of civility in Lansing, Michigan over the “Right to Work” designation for the state. The once proud state so historically important in union lore proves just how sad things have become – and how times have changed. The next question to ask is – how long we will put up with union thuggery?

Fox News contributor attacked at Michigan union protest

Posted by Erik Wemple

From Washington Post and Steve Crowder‘s YouTube page. (Also at Viral Read)

FoxNewsInsider.com is promoting the footage above of Fox News contributor Steven Crowder getting “punched multiple times by pro-union protesters” in Michigan today, according to the site. Crowder is depicted asking a protester, “What is it about right to work that you oppose so much?” The man launches into an attack on freeloading.

Then Crowder stakes out a position in favor of a tent behind him. “You’ve already destroyed one tent. Leave the tent alone,” he implores a man, who then tells him to back off in very colorful terms. Beatings ensue.

According to FoxNewsInsider.com, Crowder will be featured on tonight’s “Hannity” to discuss the confrontations. One good question for Sean Hannity: What tent was Crowder sticking up for? Mediaite reported earlier today that protesters had torn down a tent sponsored by the conservative group Americans for Prosperity. Perhaps Crowder was referring to a different tent in his tilt with the protesters.

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Democrats cry foul over Obamacare tax – Did you read it Senators?

Editor’s Note – Remember when Nancy Pelosi famously said the following about the Obamacare Bill? It was passed without knowing the details but now that its being implemented, even Democrats are crying foul, or is it “fowl”, as in the roosting has begun.

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Well now we see the chickens coming home to roost. Eighteen Democrat Senators who voted for the bill now want Harry Reid to delay implementation of a portion of the bill. The portion that taxes medical devices, a major employer and one the few good stories on our trade balance, is now a problem for these Senators.

If they, like all the others who forced this bill down America’s throat actually read the abomination, it would never have passed. Thanks Nancy, now we see what was in it. Many of us screamed this out, yet, its the law of the land now. Dear Senators – you were to clever by half – as usual! Read the letter here (also below) and see the signatures.

The “funny” thing is – it will affect your pet care bill as well – they do use medical devices!

The other funny thing is that even Al Franken signed this letter. Yes, that Al Franken, the one who stole the Senate seat in Minnesota through the felon voting scandal. He was the last vote needed. Had he not become a Senator, we would not be havind this discussion.

Democrats seek delay in one Obamacare tax increase

By Tom Curry, NBC News national affairs writer

Even as President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner struggle to find a way to avoid income tax increases in the New Year on almost all households, a separate set of tax increases which Obama signed into law as part of the 2010 Affordable Care Act (ACA) will begin to affect workers, investors and employers on Jan. 1.

Even if Boehner and Obama reach a deal on the “fiscal cliff,” $24.6 billion in 2013 Obamacare tax increases must take effect on Jan. 1 in order for the carefully designed health care overhaul to function in budget terms as its supporters promised it would: not adding anything to future budget deficits, but, according to an estimate by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), reducing cumulative deficits by $132 billion between 2010 and 2019.

The Obamacare tax increases which begin on New Year’s Day are:

  • A 2.3 percent tax on manufacturers and importers of medical devices.
  • A limit on the tax deductibility of medical expenses for people who pay some of their medical costs out of pocket.
  • A limit on tax-sheltered health flexible spending accounts.
  • An increase in the Medicare payroll tax on single earners making more than $200,000 and married couples making more than $250,000.

The delicate balance of tax increases and spending increases in Obamacare will work only if Congress allows the tax increases to take effect, so they can offset the cost of substantial new insurance subsidies and other Obamacare outlays.

But some Senate Democrats are trying to delay at least for one year the tax on medical device manufacturers, which will raise nearly $2 billion in new revenue in 2013 and $20 billion over the next seven years.

In a letter Monday, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C. and others asked Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to work to postpone the medical device tax.

Both Klobuchar and Hagan voted for the ACA and Minnesota is home to one of the biggest medical device makers, Medtronic.

A delay in the tax could be part of the year-end fiscal package. “My guess that it would be part of bigger deal before the end of the year,” Klobuchar told NBC News Tuesday.

The Democrats calling for delay are emphasizing the need for medical device industry jobs.

“We’re focused on this because there’s a number of small start-up companies (which would be affected by the tax),” Klobuchar said.  The medical device tax was set to raise $40 billion over 10 years “and then reduced in half without real negotiation about how it would affect jobs and the industry. So this one, above all to me, cries out for a change.”

She said the IRS regulation spelling out exactly how the tax will be collected and enforced was issued last week toward the end of the year “without giving them (the medical device firms) time to figure out how to comply. So we’re simply at this point looking for a delay and if we can make some changes to reduce or repeal it, that would be the goal,” Klobuchar said.

Hagan said, “There’s so much innovation in this field right now and they do create so many good jobs in our country that we have the risk of losing these jobs to Ireland and to many other countries. And that’s the problem,” said Hagan, who is up for re-election in 2014.

When she added that the tax would have “an adverse effect on jobs throughout our country,” she was asked whether the tax – after the one-year delay that she and Klobuchar are requesting – would have an equally adverse effect on jobs in 2014. “We can certainly look at that over time,” she said.

J.C. Scott, senior executive vice president of government affairs for the Advanced Medical Technology Association said, “We appreciate Sen. Klobuchar and Sen. Hagan’s leadership on this issue and also appreciate the broad bipartisan support for preventing the implementation of the device tax which is slated to go into effect Jan. 1. Delay of the tax is an important step, but Congress must fully address the device tax as it works to develop a long-term solution to help our economy move forward, reduce our debt and reform our tax code.”

The industry group said that the U.S. medical technology industry supports nearly 2 million jobs and that nearly 43,000 jobs might be at risk if the tax takes effect.

If this call for delay and “reduce or repeal” reflects a weakening of support for Obamacare’s revenue raisers among Democrats, that could be worrisome for both deficit reduction and cost reduction since both of those were goals of Obama’s health care overhaul.

Even as they voted for the health care overhaul in 2010, some congressional Democrats said they thought that another one of the tax increases in the law, the tax on high-cost “Cadillac” health insurance plans would never fully take effect because Congress would water it down or repeal it before 2018 when it is set to effect.

If Democrats delay, reduce or repeal the medical device tax, then the ACA will not cut costs as much as its proponents and the CBO predicted it would.

Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin of Illinois made exactly that point in comments to reporters Tuesday: “I’ve met with medical manufacturers in my state. And I think many of them are going to face some serious hardships when it comes to their competitive edge and research. But I’ve also told them quite frankly, ‘We’ve got to make up the revenue. If we’re going to walk away from any part ofthis revenue, we have to find another source.’”